4 ways to win the Digitalisation War

Digitalisation is set to transform and evolve businesses and jobs all over the world. The question is, how do you reskill and prepare your staff for it?
By: | January 16, 2020

By Bernadette Wightman, BT, Managing Director, Banking and Financial Services

Like it or not, digitalisation has invaded and transformed the way we work, employ and reskill our people.

According to the World Economic Forum, 75 million jobs will probably be displaced across 20 major economies by 2022, while 133 million new ones will spring up in industries that are only just gaining traction. At the same time, it’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of children who started school in 2016 will go on to have jobs that don’t yet exist.

While the impending issue is felt throughout Asia, Singapore may take the hardest hit as it is predicted that 25% of its full time workforce will be displaced by 2028.

The task of reskilling millions of workers looks like an overwhelming and daunting one for businesses around the world.

So in a ‘digitalise-or-die’ world we live in today, what can businesses to do prepare and retrain their workforce whose jobs are evolving?

1) Embrace lifelong learning

Being ready for digitalisation isn’t really about being a technology expert. It’s about the technological literacy among the workforce. And everyone in the society plays a part in the holistic development of digital skills – even customers, parents, teachers and older people, as well students and new graduates.

And it’s not just digital skills that need to be fostered. Study shows that while technology will alter many roles directly, it’s also set to have indirect effects. As demand for mathematics, computing and data analysis grows, so too will the need for soft skills like creativity, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation.

2) Start early

With the fast changing and evolving needs in businesses, it’s important to be ahead of the game in terms of training staff to prepare them for new opportunities and challenges that come their way. Companies can also practice ‘reverse mentoring’ where younger and more digital ready staff can help train older ones to get them up to pace with the digitalisation.

Training on the job could become more important than traditional routes. Companies including Apple, Google and IBM are among many shifting away from requiring college degrees for employment. At BT, you can get your degree while working as a cybersecurity apprentice, gaining real business experience, while also learning about security, identity, vulnerability and risks in the digital age.

3) Foster inclusivity

Fewer women work in technological related jobs than men as they tend to be less interested in digital-sector higher education, jobs or entrepreneurship, according to a European Commission report.

Therefore more work remains to be done to help bridge the gender gap, challenge these stereotypes, promoting education and advocating for female digital entrepreneurs.

Among the many initiatives that aim to encourage women’s employment in digital is Code First: Girls, which offers free four-month-long coding programmes to women of any age and gives them a job interview once they’ve completed the course.

4) Join forces with multiple stakeholders

While there are no shortages of initiatives and schemes – both by governments and the private sectors, the impact and results will be far greater should the different sectors join forces and combine resources to help bridge the digital skills gap. One example is Futurenow.com, which is coalition of leading companies such as BT and Lloyd’s Banking Group. Meanwhile in the UK, civil society groups are working in collaboration with the government to boost the UK’s digital skills initiative.